Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Foie "Gross"

I couldn't decide what I wanted to write about this week until I was speaking with a friend of mine this afternoon and she said she had gone out for dinner to a wonderful French restaurant and ate so much Foie Gras she thought she was going to explode. That got me to thinking...I wonder how the goose must have felt as he was being forced fed to fatten up his liver. Probably like he was going to explode! These birds are born, caged, have tubes shoved down their throats and are force fed until their liver is big enough to slaughter them. That's it...that is their entire existence on this earth.

To produce Foie Gras, which literally means "fatty liver", workers shove pipes down the throats of male ducks or geese up to three times a day. They then pump as much as 4 pounds of grain and fat into their stomachs which cause their livers to bloat to up to 10 times their normal size. Many birds have difficulty standing because their livers are so engrossed. At times, they may actually tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other due to stress. The birds are kept in tiny wire cages or tightly packed into sheds. On some farms, a single worker may be expected to force-feed 500 birds three times each day. These animals are often treated roughly and left injured and suffering. Many ducks develop foot infections, kidney necrosis, spleen damage, bruised and broken bills, and tumor-like lumps in their throats.

Foie Gras is so inhumane that in 2004, California passed a law banning the sale and production of Foie Gras from force fed birds, effective in 2012. Force feeding has also been outlawed in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Israel. Over 78% of the worlds consumption of Foie Gras is produced in France.

In Canada, nearly half a million birds are killed each year for Foie Gras. There are no laws preventing force feeding of these birds for the consumption of their liver in Canada yet. Please take the time to write or call your Minister of Agriculture and demand a national ban on Foie Gras production.

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